Weebly Review: We test “free & easy” Weebly
Websites for grown-ups, no technical skills required: that’s Weebly’s promise. We’ve decided to do you a favor and take a closer look.
Weebly’s well-organized interface makes it easy to see at a glance what it has to offer. It has a menu on the left-hand side for easy access to its key features. A simple drag and drop is all it takes to add text, images or forms to your Weebly website.
The website doesn’t reveal too much about pricing. So here’s the deal: the basic package is free, but it will include a small Weebly ad in your website’s footer.
Their paid plans consist of two tiers: Starter, which is priced at $4 per month and lets you fully customize your website’s footer to remove the Weebly logo. It also gives you access to their premium support. The Pro plan is $8 per month and includes even more slick features, such as site search, header slideshows as well as video and audio players. Business (25$) is the best choice if you want to run an online store with an unlimited amount of products and features like coupon codes. Find our detailed comparison of Weebly’s pricing options here.
Note that you will have to pay extra for your own domain name. However, a .com domain will be a rather steep $39.95 per year (with discounts available if you register for longer periods).
See it in action here
Weebly in detail
|Ease of use||
||This is exactly how a website builder should be. There's no learning curve with Weebly, so you'll have your website up and running in no time.|
|Choice and flexibility of design (templates)||
||They offer a great selection of flexible templates, and if you're a pro you can even access the source code for further customization. A smartphone-friendly website will be generated automatically.|
|Advertisement-free||yes||In the Starter, Pro and Business plans. The free version has a small advertising link in the footer.|
||Currently available in English and 11 other languages. Support available in English only. No special feature to create multilingual sites but a workaround exists. Do not use Weebly for non-English character sets like Russian, Chinese or Arabic as they are not fully supported.|
|Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net)||yes||You can buy a domain from Weebly, but it works out to be pretty expensive and they only offer .com, .net or .org domains. You can re-direct a domain you've bought elsewhere though.|
|Depth of navigation||
||Unlimited. A drop-down menu is added to your navigation bar automatically.|
|Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality)||
||Photo galleries, video and music players and more. We very much like the Button-Widget that lets you create call-to-action buttons easily.|
|Monetization||yes||Using banner ads or Google AdSense for example.|
||Weebly offers a solid and easy-to-use online store with SSL encryption and multiple payment options. Detailed information can be found in our Weebly Online Store review.|
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)||
||Title, meta and description tags are all customizable at page level, as are your images' ALT text. URL text is always created from the respective menu item. The use of headlines (H1, H2 etc.) is limited.|
||Has all the standard features and much more: schedule a post for a future date, choose the permalink for your articles and switch the blog side bar on and off. Now you can even add an alternative commenting system like Disqus or Facebook comments.|
||Weebly has its own tracking tool, or you can use Google Analytics instead.|
|Contact form||yes||Use drag and drop to create detailed contact forms or surveys.|
|Password protection||yes||Available from the Pro plan. You can either protect the entire site or selected pages. There is now also a membership area that is available that lets you share certain content only with site members. Pro allows you to add up to 100 members, while Business has no limit and also gives you the option of letting your visitors sign up on a public form.|
|Newsletter tool||no||You can use an external newsletter system, such as Mailchimp or Aweber.|
|Add HTML code||yes||Allows you to add external widgets and other tools.|
|Storage space||Unlimited||Individually, your files cannot exceed 10 MB each on the free plan, or 250 MB each on the Pro plan. But other than that, the sky's the limit! No limits on bandwidth either. And you can even download your Weebly website and host it on your own web space.|
|Forum||yes||Direct integration with Tal.ki, which makes adding forums a piece of cake.|
|Support||yes||Email, knowledge base and live chat (look in the Help Center, to us it seems they are hardly available). Email support usually responded competently and quickly to our questions.|
||Weebly listens to their users and continuously improves the product. We also like their non-aggressive sales style.|
|One of the best website builders on the market. They should provide better ways to purchase domain names and email accounts; but other than that, Weebly hits the spot.|
We have been following Weebly for more than five years now. In the beginning, it was just another website builder. That has completely changed: Weebly has evolved into an outstanding tool that we currently see far ahead of its competition. It’s simple, uncluttered and easy to use – which is exactly what people with limited technical skills need when it comes to creating their own internet presence.
One of the best features is their templates. They were clearly designed by pros who know about the importance of call-to-action elements that help to guide your visitors to make a purchase or submit a contact request.
Through their iPad app, you can now also edit your entire website on the go, whereas the iPhone and Android apps currently only support limited editing such as adding blog posts.
The only thing they could improve is a better way to get business email accounts. Weebly recommends Google Apps, which is a bit pricey at $5 per user. Nevertheless, there are different ways to tackle this issue (see our FAQ’s).
Enough with theory: Try it out for yourself and see how you like it!
Weebly Example Sites
Alternatives to Weebly
FAQ about Weebly
Does Weebly provide email accounts?
They offer email accounts through Google Apps. This is a professional solution but it will set you back $45 per user (yearly). For many this won’t be ideal as it’s a bit pricey. A better approach would be to purchase your domain name through an external registrar (e.g. Namecheap or Godaddy), point it to Weebly and set up email there. Another alternative could be Jimdo or Webnode where a free email account is already part of the paid plans.
If I choose the Weebly Pro package now, can I later change to the Business plan?
Yes, that’s possible. All previous payments will be credited so won’t loose any money.
Should I purchase my domain name from Weebly? Or is it better to use a service like Go Daddy?
Domain names are not that cheap if you buy them through Weebly ($39.99 per year). With Go Daddy, for example, you can purchase a domain name for around $10-15 per year and it already includes one email account. Their Deluxe Email Package is around $50 per year and provides 5 email accounts.
Setting up a Go Daddy domain name for your Weebly website
This looks a bit complicated but at least for a brand new domain name it’s straightforward to set up. Please note that everything you change is at your own risk!
You need to go to your Zone File Editor and change the entries highlighted in red so that they have the same values like in the screenshot. Please note that it can take a few hours for them to become active.
Is there a free trial for Weebly Starter, Pro or Business?
No, unfortunately not. But we have suggested this to our Weebly partner manager as we get this question a lot.
Can I really use the free version of Weebly and connect my existing domain name for free?
No, not anymore. You need at least a Starter plan to do that.
Does Weebly offer support in any other language than English?
No, currently they don’t.
I saw that I can also get Weebly through Bluehost or HostGator. Should I sign up with Weebly directly?
The advantage of signing up for Weebly through Bluehost or HostGator is that they provide a domain name and email accounts. But Bluehost’s offering is more expensive than signing up with Weebly directly. What’s important is that it may take longer to receive new feature updates and you won’t be able to use Weebly’s support. If you still want to give it a try, you can do so here.
Which browser should I use for Weebly?
Generally, any of the major browsers will work. In our experience, it’s best to use either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
26 Nov 2014 - Updates for the blog und new membership feature added
17 Feb 2014 - Google Apps integration for email accounts (see FAQ)
11 Feb 2014 - Addition to Languages (limited support of foreign character sets)
04 Jan 2014 - Weebly finally doesn’t take a 50% cut on Google AdSense ads anymore.
29 Nov 2013 – Added Weebly Online Store Review
28 Oct 2013 - Weebly Support offers now live chat.
09 Oct 2013 - Existing domain names cannot be connected to free Weebly sites anymore.
21 Jun 2013 – New video review of the updated editor
02 May 2013 – New editor design and a price increase: Starter is now $4 (before $3.29) and Pro $8 (before $6.63)
13 Mar 2013 – We’ve added information about password protection.
08 Feb 2013 - New pricing plans: Starter and Pro plan.
17 Dec 2012 - New features: site search, header slideshows, custom footer and more. Our review.
03 May 2012 - Quite a few additions: an iPhone app, the Button Element and more template flexibility
17 Jan 2012 - Video review and video page added
22 Nov 2011 - We checked Weebly’s server performance and it has done pretty well.
20 Jul 2011 – Review of Weebly’s mobile website
17 Mar 2011 – General update
12 Jan 2010 – General update – support not reviewed at this time.
Last updated: 27 Nov 2014 | Robert Brandl